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8 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

8 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

Been working late on your laptop? Slept in some awkward position? Not used to playing tennis or golf for more than an hour but still played for half a day with friends? At one point or another, you must have felt some stiffness or pain in your neck, shoulders or back. I am not an expert in the field, but I work a lot on laptop frequently and experience pain in my shoulders, upper back and neck quite often and I know some tricks. So, here are some tried and tested remedies which might be very useful to release the stiffness. You can do a few of them right in your office. before popping pain killers, try following these eight ways to naturally relieve neck pain.

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    1. Hot water compresses.

    This is the simplest remedy you can try at home. Just apply a hot water bag or heat packs to your neck and shoulders. This helps increase the blood circulation in the area and give some relief. Some people prefer cold packs. Try both of them to figure out which works for you.

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    2. Massages.

    Ask a friend or a friendly relative to gently massage your trapezius muscle, which extends from the base of your skull down to your back and shoulders. This will ease the muscles and help you relax. But be sure to make certain that the massage is not too harsh.

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      3. Neck exercises.

      Rotate your neck. Breath in while bringing your head back and breath out while lowering your chin towards your chest. Rotate your head very gently in clockwise directions 7-8 times. Repeat in a counterclockwise direction. Do this very gently. Your aim is to relax the muscles, not to stress you out even more. Regular movement helps the muscles stay stronger.

      4. Stretch your shoulders.

      Roll your shoulders backwards and forward. Lock your fingers, and raise your arms above your head. Look straight ahead and don’t shrug. Hold for one minute and lower your arms. Relax, roll your shoulders once again and then repeat the stretch. Do not do any stretches, which could potentially increase your pain. Better, contact a chiropractor to show you some simple stretches that will relax your muscles further.

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      5. De-stress yourself.

      Clasp your fists together at your back. Pulling your shoulders together, try lifting your hands as high as possible. Hold for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat this de-stressing exercise. This is one of the stretches which I do frequently, sometimes several times a day. A very simple exercise to try.

      6. Avoid uncomfortable positions and activity.

      Avoid driving, heavy lifting, or sitting in any position which will stress your shoulders and neck even more. Avoid neck collars as well. Restricting movement might do more harm than good.

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      7. Try “healing” foods.

      Dark chocolate. Yes, you get candy. It provides flavonols, compounds that help improve blood flow to those tired muscles. Blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, ginger and cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties and, in turn, soothe the muscles.

      8. Don’t be shy about resting up.

      Take a day off. Go home. Relax. Watch your favorite movie and go to sleep. Make sure you sleep on a low and firm pillow, as this will prevent unnecessary bending of your neck.

      And if none of those work, contact your doctor immediately. The pain could be resulting from some serious underlying problem which you need to get checked immediately. 

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        Featured photo credit: Kurt Komoda via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on December 2, 2018

        How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

        How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

        Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

        The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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        The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

        Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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        Review Your Past Flow

        Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

        Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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        Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

        Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

        Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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        Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

        Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

        We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

        Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

          Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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